Being a Hoarder is in my Blood, and Driving my Wife Crazy

For the longest time I thought that a hoarder was something you saw on a television documentary, or on the news. An elderly person died and in their house was every single newspaper they’d ever owned, since the 1930s. Perhaps a house was full of garbage, and it made the news. Nothing about the poor souls that lived there, just mountains of junk, to the ceiling.

When my mother passed away, my sister and I, and my father to a certain extent, had to come to the realization that our mother had been a hoarder. Now, not a sad hoarder like those on television… just a regular hoarder. She kept everything that could possibly have had any sentimental value.

She kept her clothes from when she was a child, back in the forties. She kept all her books, including her childhood books. She kept EVERYTHING.

Since she was so organized, we never noticed. We didn’t grow up in a house full of newspapers or garbage, it was pretty normal, no visible accumulation anywhere. It’s only when she was no longer there to manage it all that it became apparent. I don’t think she had a very severe case, but it was definitely persistent throughout her life.

She’s been gone for over a decade, and my sister and I still deal with the aftershocks, mainly a warehouse full of stuff that we have no need for. I am gamely listing things on eBay and Kijiji, trying to get rid of stuff, but it’s a long, difficult process, fraught with emotions at every single item I handle.

I’m afraid that I suffer from the same condition, although I am certainly more willing to admit it than my mom ever did, certainly because of the influence of my wife, who sees all this from an outside perspective. It just seems that no matter how much I sell or dispose of, there is more that comes in; it’s a constant, uphill battle.

I’m better than I was; I don’t collect empty prescription pill bottles anymore (although I find them strangely useful), and I’ve come to see my crazy mess with somewhat fresh eyes.

The Lively Dollar

It is said that feeling distress about possessions, of feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed, is a symptom of hoarding, and if that is the case, then I’m definitely a hoarder. Having anyone but family or very close friends over at home is difficult and requires an inordinate amount of stress and organization to pull off.

With the other classic symptoms of hoarding, I seem to do better; I am able to get rid of possessions, but only so far through selling; throwing out items is still very difficult, but I guess that at some point the junk that’s left will be just that, junk, and nobody wants that.

What helps me is realizing the pain, stress and feeling of being overwhelmed that my compulsion imposes on my family, particularly on my wife. She doesn’t have to deal with that, and it is something that I am able to fix. It’s not easy.

I also have young children; I don’t want, hopefully far into the future, to pass away and leave them a house full of junk that they have to deal with, just like I have to deal with the warehouse now. I am glad to have so many cherished family items, but it would have been nice for my parents to do some pruning before giving us the keys to the warehouse.

As I get to writing the blog more and more, my efforts in getting rid of all that stuff will become more apparent; this website is about money, making it, saving it and putting it to work, and selling all those items will be an additional source or revenue that I will mine for a long time.

4 Easy Ways to Save Like Crazy at Costco

Costco Wholesale store

At The Lively Dollar, we LOVE Costco! There’s everything we need, and the value is always incredible. Here are a few tips to help you save a little bit more. These are techniques that we use every week, and there is nothing sneaky about them, Costco actually WANTS you to take advantage of these. You’ll be happy, because you save more, and so will Costco, because you’ll be in the store more often!

Use your Executive Coupons

One of the easiest ways to save at Costco without racking your brains is to use your Executive coupons! Unlike the coupons you receive at the door from the friendly people in red vests that greet you, Executive coupons are received at home, and must be presented to the cashier in order to receive the savings. They are only for Executive Members! If you do not have the Executive level membership, just upgrade – it costs more, but you can save tons just on the coupons, way more that the actual cost of the membership.

Some coupon booklets are sponsored by Procter & Gamble. These guys make everything we use, so it’s real easy to save – think toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, et cetera. Others are sponsored by Kirkland Signature (Costco’s house brand) so you can get everything from frozen beef patties to coffee and more.

Buy Costco Gas

Buying gas at Costco is an easy to pay for your membership, and more, even without setting foot in the warehouse! Let’s say you buy 50 liters of gas a week, at an average savings of 5 cents a liter; you would save $130 a year. Doesn’t look like much, but you’ve just paid for your Executive membership at Costco! If you have the regular Gold Star membership, you’ve put $70 in your pocket! Try to time your gas fill-ups with your Costco runs so that you don’t waste time or fuel.

Buy Weekly Specials in Bulk

Except under very special circumstances, there are no buying limits at Costco. There is no “Limit per Customer’. Feel free to buy the whole pallet if you want! That’s why you should always stock up on regular specials – the ones that they hand at the door when you walk in. If you plan and purchase judiciously, you can make it so that items on special are the only ones you buy! You could cut 10% to 25% off of your bill every time, and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Shop for Discounted and Clearance Items

Did you ever notice items that are priced ending in .97? Those are clearance items. Assuming that it’s something you would have bought anyways, you can safely stock up on these. Costco is clearing them out to make room for something else, and they are priced to move. We’ve seen savings of up to 90% on those, so know your stock, and your prices, and you can really save big!

In Conclusion

These are four ways to save on each and every one of your Costco runs. Do you have a favorite way to save at Costco? Tell us in the comments below!